Newly unionized Slate staff votes to strike

Recently unionized writers and editors at Slate have reportedly voted almost unanimously to strike over concerns about the company's diversity policies and a rule mandating that union fees be optional for Slate employees.

Bloomberg News reports that Slate employees voted 52 to 1 in favor of a strike and have begun considering when workers will walk out. A spokesman for the union told Bloomberg that the rules mandating optional union fees at the left-leaning blog seemed to be a "betrayal" of the site's values.

“We just feel that it’s a total and absolute betrayal of Slate’s most fundamental values,” Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern told Bloomberg.

ADVERTISEMENT

A request for comment from Slate was not immediately returned. Representatives for Slates's union released a chain of messages on Twitter Tuesday morning following the vote, further accusing Slate management of trying to "degrade the legitimacy" of Slate's union.

"We’ve been bargaining our contract for 8 months. We’re excited by a lot of what we’ve achieved at the table. But we’re still dismayed by management’s position on certain key issues," the union tweeted.

"Most crucially, our unit continues to be outraged by management’s inclusion of a right-to-work clause, a technique designed to degrade the legitimacy of our union," the account continued. "We love Slate. We want make the strongest, best Slate possible. But Slate is its workers—it’s the writers, editors, producers, and staffers who make the magazine."

The Writers Guild of America, East, which represents Slate's union, told The Hill in a statement that Slate staffers were fighting for a "reasonable" contract with management.

“The WGAE-represented employees at Slate have made two things clear to management: they want a reasonable contract that addresses their needs and respects their decision to unionize, and they're willing to fight for it. The Writers Guild of America, East and its thousands of members stand with the Slate employees, and we know that solidarity works," the group's executive director, Lowell Peterson, said.

Bloomberg reports that Slate workers had previously employed other in-office forms of protest before resorting to Tuesday's vote, including at least one hourlong "Slack strike" where employees would sign off or refuse to answer messages on the office communication platform.